One of the best ways to save money at the holidays is with “Do-It-Yourself” presents for your friends and loved ones. They key is to create DIY holiday gifts that are sincere and genuinely thoughtful.
If you choose the right gifts, then they will be appreciated just as much as something more expensively purchased at the local mall or on the internet. DIY gifts are usually remembered long after store-bought presents have been forgotten because they are gifts of your time and talent.
Thoughtfulness is the key to easy DIY holiday gifts as well as those received with genuine delight. Is your best friend a foodie? Does your uncle love baseball? Think about the interests of the people receiving your gifts, then create DIY projects around those passions. A themed DIY gift shows that you were thinking about them while creating their gift, making it sure to be appreciated and cherished. Saving money on your DIY holiday gifts is a gift to yourself as well. See if one of these ideas might be the perfect fit for your friends and family members this year.
You can find hundreds of shows and videos about DIY crafts, cooking and art on television and online today. It is easy to get caught up in the enthusiasm of instructors, but keep in mind what you are really good at and really love to do. If you are an excellent knitter but a novice at painting, then stick with what you know and enjoy. You do not want to get burned out or frustrated half-way through the project and end up buying a last minute, substitute holiday gift. Trying to learn a new crafting technique when you have a deadline is risky.
Everyone bakes cookies during the holidays, but there are a lot of other food gifts you can make that others will use long after the holidays are over. If you have a signature dish that everyone raves about whether it is apple pie or a decadent casserole, then your friends and relatives will appreciate a break from holiday cookies. If you create your own salad dressings, sauces or vinaigrettes, then put them in inexpensive, decorative bottles from a thrift shop or dollar store. Add a decorative tag with the recipe and a suggestion for using the sauce or dressing. Packaging food with business cards is also a cost-effective marketing strategy if you are saving to start a business related to food.
Whether you knit, crochet or sew, you can create easy DIY holiday gifts without going the traditional and time-consuming route of making everyone a sweater. Think small and simple. What about padded eyeglass cases for your grandparents who wear reading glasses? You can crochet anything from a great shopping bag to a pair of warm slippers in an afternoon. There are tons of downloadable patterns online.
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If you love to sew, then you can make anything from soft headbands to colorful aprons as gifts. If your best friend loves to cook, then a lovely apron in her favorite colors is sure to be a hit. For your aunt who goes to Bible study every Wednesday, sew her a Bible book cover that has a pocket for her notebook and a pen.
All you need to make a personalized mug is a fine-point marker and a ceramic mug or bowl. Look for a light-colored mug and choose a dark color, permanent marker to draw your own artwork or sentiment on the mug. If you like, then use a stencil to avoid mistakes, but free-hand artwork is a lovely way to create a truly unique gift. After you let the marker dry completely, put the mug or bowl in the oven at 350 degrees for a half-hour to set the artwork permanently. It is now safe to use and wash.
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An elaborate monogram, a friend’s name or a favorite catch-phrase are all great ways to personalize your ceramic gift. To complete the presentation, pop in a small food gift or some cocoa mix tied with a festive ribbon and a candy cane. Choose a ceramic platter in a pale shade and decorate it with a whimsical holiday scene and the word “Cookies” written across the top for a lovely cookie serving platter that is one of a kind.
Scented gifts are easy to make and personalize without needing extensive experience working with difficult ingredients. Scented sachets to tuck into drawers and closets are easy to make using a few simple ingredients. Buy potpourri in scents you know the recipient will appreciate, then chop the ingredients into smaller pieces if necessary. Dried herbs and flowers such as lavender can also be purchased online if you want to create your own signature scent.
Next, choose lightweight cotton or linen fabric in small prints or bright colors and cut them into four-by-four-inch squares. Putting the pattern sides of two squares together, stitch around three sides of the squares, then turn them inside out so the pattern shows on the outside. Fill with enough of the potpourri or herb mix to puff it out but not be too tightly packed, then stitch closed along the final side.
If you are not a good seamstress, then you can use an iron-on seam fusing tape to seal the edges but be careful to add some extra length to the fabric on all sides to ensure a secure seal. You can decorate these with ribbon or stitch a ribbon loop on one corner of each sachet so they can be hung over hangers or in closets.
If you do not have a particular DIY talent, then you can still give a DIY gift by simply putting together a gift basket that shows the recipient you know what they love. For a pasta lover, gather all the elements of a great Italian meal, including a selection of sauces, imported olive oil, a box of pasta, a spaghetti serving spoon, a bottle of wine and a lovely pasta serving bowl. Put everything into the bowl, wrap in cellophane and tie with a ribbon.
For someone who needs a bit of pampering, gather the ingredients for a relaxing night in, including scented bubble bath, a great paperback book, a pedicure kit, a loofah or body sponge, body lotion and powder, a scented candle and a few tea bags or a bottle of their favorite beverage. Tuck these into a basket or bucket and decorate with ribbons or silk flowers. Include a handmade coupon for a night of babysitting if the recipient is a mom with young kids. Nothing says pampered like a few hours of quiet.
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